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Show full transcript for Adult fractures video

Fractures are cracks in the bones.
Closed breaks or fractures are where the bone is broken completely.
Compound fractures are where the bone punctures the skin.
Complicated breaks are where nerve damage has also occurred.
Dislocations are where a joint comes apart.

Someone can fracture a bone by falling, being hit or having a joint pulled or twisted, a bone may also fracture if it is crushed or bent. A break in a bone is called a fracture. Sometimes a bone may break very, very easily with little impact, sometimes a bone may take a big impact without any brake occurring. In many cases only hospital treatment will confirm if a bone is fractured. Someone who has fractured a bone will usually be in a lot of pain, there may be deformity, bruising, swelling or problems with mobility.  The signs and symptoms will depend on the location of the fracture. A fracture of the skull will look a lot different to a fracture to the leg.

There may be different types of fractures. A closed fracture is where the skin is not broken, but there may be a small crack in the bone, or it may be completely broken and there may be other sorts of injuries like blood vessels or soft tissue damage. Fractures can be stable or unstable. A stable fracture is where the bone ends do not move, as they're not completely broken. Or it could be something like an impact injury. Common examples of this are the shoulder, the wrist, ankle, or the hip. Extra damage is not normally done by the first aider in these cases. An unstable fracture is where the bone ends can possibly move, and these require much more care by the first aider. What you will need to do is try and avoid moving the bone ends and immobilise them as much as you can.  This could be hard because of extra damage to soft tissues. An open fracture is where the bone exposed through the skin, which can also have other problems that we need to deal with. These problems may include excessive bleeding and the distress this type of injury can cause.

Treatment for breaks is to try and immobilise the limb in the position you find it, to avoid any extra damage or pain to the person and also get professional help as quickly as possible.